Part 5: Developing an Agenda, Sometime in the Future

The Arts and Education Initiative of EPLC Supporting the Arts in the Schools and Communities of Pennsylvania

When they met in the fall, group members adopted the following six-point, change agenda:

DrawingI. Provide opportunities for all learners based on 21st-century needs.
Learners of all ages need to acquire the ability over a lifetime to navigate their futures in an increasingly complex world, simultaneously connected by technology but differentiated by individual backgrounds, special needs, and personal aspirations. In school, students should be given opportunities to participate in all the arts and to invent project-based learning experiences that tie in to and enrich learning across the academic disciplines. Guests at performances and in museums should be encouraged to interact with and share personally-meaningful responses to works of art with the help of professional educators using inquiry-based strategies.

II. Frame these learning opportunities within the new and growing array of available technologies to collect learning data and engage diverse audiences on their own terms.
For the last few years, state education leaders have been building a web-based support system aimed at helping teachers enrich their professional practice and accelerate student achievement. We applaud these efforts and are eager to explore the variety of possibilities the system presents for capturing student performance and student learning in real time and making it visible to policymakers and other key audiences. The arts can contribute to the development of this system, and the system can promote arts learning and its viability in education policy. Technology is also transforming how we all learn at performances, in museums, and in everyday life. We encourage experimentation and progress in integrating new technologies in the educational experiences of all community members.

III. Reinforce parental and community participation in schools.
In creating a mosaic of lifelong learning, we will build on the unique backgrounds and interests of all citizens. Using the arts to explore diverse cultures and making discovery a vital part of the school curriculum provides opportunities in the community for all citizens to share creativity and engage continuously in meaningful learning.

IV. Look to the arts as a source of community growth.
We know that the future of our communities and our state requires creative problem-solving, in both the private sector and in the public arena. Artists are among our most innovative neighbors. We should find ways to support them and arts organizations to enrich our community-in planning public spaces, developing commercial applications, infusing our schools with innovative learning opportunities, and in deploying technology to enrich all of our lives.

V. Pursue public and entrepreneurial funding opportunities.
We cannot activate this change agenda without continuing and substantial state funding of the arts and arts education-for which we will need to advocate as part of a long term policy advocacy campaign-but we will also pursue creative funding options, including public-private partnerships, to enhance the impact of public funding for our schools and communities.

VI. Create vibrant and effective support for the arts as catalysts of innovation.
We will communicate regularly with each other and state and local policymakers to continue to develop this agenda and to develop and support actionable policies that will make the agenda possible. We will embrace new technologies in building a virtual platform for sharing the arts and develop capacity for students, teachers, and arts advocates to exchange promising practices and create new practices together.

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